Basic Video Camera Shots

A good video is made up of different camera shots. Sure, the acting/action on the screen is important, but you can do so much more with that acting/action by using the camera to help tell the story. Your camera can be as important an actor as the people/things on screen (often it can tell more!) The way you do that is by varying the look of your shots and adding some basic movement.

Here’s a great example, and it tells a story by using the different camera shots that you will demonstrate:


When it comes time to put together your video, you want to have as much VARIETY as possible. This will make your video much more appealing than just leaving the viewer watching the same shot for long periods of time. This will also allow you to shift the importance on screen (ie sometimes it’s more important to show the detail of what someone is doing, and sometimes it’s more important to see them in action or talking or whatever.)

Here is a great site with examples of each type of shot/move.

Pay attention to how these shots/moves are used in just about every video you see. Here’s one example of a variety of shots combined into one short film. See if you can count how many shots, keep track of which types of shots, and time each shot.

Today you will demonstrate some of those basic types of shots and movements.

Your first video will include demonstrations of:

Extreme long
Long Shot
Medium long
Close up
Extreme close up

First tip: DON’T ZOOM while recording (except when you are demonstrating a zoom, of course) if you can help it. In fact, in general, you want to keep any movements to a minimum. Instead, we’ll add variety and emphasis through editing. We’ll take different shots of the same thing and cut them together to tell a story.

You will need to come up with some kind of story/flow to your shots! You need to PLAN a scene that makes sense, and use the camera shots & moves to help tell your story!

Since you might not have talking in your video (we haven’t yet discussed how to properly record audio), you will probably want/need to remove the camera audio from each shot.

And while you’re at it, why not add some soundtrack music? Videos are mighty boring without music. Go to a source for free music that is legal to use in your video. I highly recommend You can find other sources of creative commons content, including music, on my Links page under Copyright Free Content.

Before you start shooting any video, remember that you need to PLAN and create a fully detailed STORYBOARD!

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